Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Nerja (Spain), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Cuevas de Nerja
The Nerja caves were discovered by coincidence in 1959 by a group of young locals, and since then they have been recognized as one of the most important caves in Spain.
They go on for over three miles, and the three known galleries are covered in stalactites, gours, spirals, and other speleothems. There are also nearly 600 rock paintings, which potentially date back to over 40,000 years, making them possibly the oldest known painting in all the world.
You can even attend a concert in one of the caverns, which forms a natural theater. This cave system is one of the best places to visit in Nerja if you enjoy natural attractions.
Balcony of Europe
The most-photographed spot in Nerja is the Balcón de Europa, a beautiful balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. The views are striking, and the statue of King Alfonso XII is also a popular selfie spot.
Located in the center of the city, it is a popular gathering place, which also attracts many tourists, who come here to enjoy the striking views.
Hike up to El Cielo
The peak El Cielo (which means ‘The Sky’) is one of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park’s most accessible mountains to climb. It stands at 1508 meters, and the gorgeous view visible from its summit are legendary.
To visit, park at the El Pinarillo junction or the Area Recreativa El Pinarillo. If you visit during the summer, you’ll start at the Nerja caves, which adds an extra 10 kilometers to the hike. The path is clearly marked, so all you have to do is enjoy.
Enjoy the beaches of Nerja
Nerja doesn’t hold the title “the jewel of the Costa del Sol” for nothing. Over nine kilometers of sandy coastline means Nerja is packed with a beach for everyone.
Burriana Beach, one of the most popular, is a long, two-kilometer beach with golden sand that is easy to access and full of facilities. Maro Beach is a smaller one, tucked into the cliffs and perfect for nature lovers.
El Playazo is another gorgeous beach in Nerja, beloved for its unspoiled beauty and the fact it almost always has a spot available.
Nerja’s gorgeous waters, crystal clear and turquoise blue, invite you to explore them from the sea. Kayaking is a popular way to see the sea from a different viewpoint.
Several businesses operate from Burriana Beach, where you can rent a kayak and explore the most isolated coves and sea creatures in this part of the Mediterranean.
Cascada de Maro
The Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama butts up to the sea in the form of tall, vertical cliffs, forming a dramatic backdrop. The Cascada de Maro is a waterfall that pours from these cliffs, stretching down 15 meters before it crashes into the sea. The best place to see the waterfall is from the sea itself, by kayak or swimming.
Make a day trip to Frigiliana
Frigiliana is one of the most iconic of the white villages of Andalucia, which has also been named as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. The old part is perfectly preserved, with cobblestone streets, blindingly white façades, and beautiful colored flowers and painted doors.
Frigiliana is just a ten-minute drive from Nerja, so make a day trip of it and spend a relaxing day starting off in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. On weekdays, there are buses available, otherwise, you can take a taxi.
The Chillar River is located to the west of Nerja, originating in the Sierras and emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. It cuts a deep canyon through the Sierra de Almijara, although some areas are suitable for river trekking.
A popular trek is to walk to the Vado de Los Patos, or Duck’s Ford, a pool that has a small waterfall and room for swimming. You can also walk along the river, passing a marble gorge, as well as more natural pools and waterfalls.
Cala del Cañuelo
The beach at El Cañuelo is believed by many to be the best beach on the entire Costa del Sol. To reach the beach, it is necessary to catch a shuttle bus from a parking area down to the beach itself.
The beach is a cove, with beautiful clear water filled with marine life. At just a 15 minute drive from Nerja, it feels a world away, isolated and virgin.
Museo de Nerja
The Museum of Nerja explores local history, from prehistoric times to the modern-day. Not only do they have permanent and temporary exhibitions, they also show concerts, theaters, and other events throughout the year.
Art exhibits in the Ana María Márquez room change every couple of months. Located in the center of Nerja, it is a must for archeology fans, especially for its collection from the very important Cueva de Nerja.
Church of El Salvador
The beautiful whitewashed Church of El Salvador is Nerja’s religious nerve center. All the city’s processions and many of its events take place in the church.
Construction on the original church began on this site in 1505, although the current Baroque neoclassical structure dates back to 1697. The beautiful bell tower, visible from everywhere in the city, dates to 1724.
The famous television series, Verano Azul, premiered in the 80s but still holds an important part in the collective pop-culture memory of Nerja.
The boat of a fisherman character called Chanquete sits at the entrance of the city. It’s called La Dorada, and the statue replica commemorates the explosion of tourism the town experienced after the show aired.
Acueducto del Águila
The Águila aqueduct, or the Eagle Bridge, is a lovely example of an aqueduct bridge dating back to the nineteenth century. The bridge was built to transport water to the sugar cane factory, Nerja’s largest at the time.
Today, it serves to irrigate local fields, though its Mudéjar style and lovely details make it a popular sight and one of the most famous landmarks in Nerja.
Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park
This natural park is hugely important in the area. It covers a large swath of both mountain and coast, bordering the provinces of Málaga and Granada. It’s huge (over 40,000 hectares), so there are loads to see, do and enjoy.
Be sure to visit some of the white villages and soak in their Moorish architectures. The forests teem with wildlife, known to hold over 1700 species. The park holds the Chillar river and the gorges it has shaped over millions of years, as well as the archeologically significant caves of Nerja.
Aquavelis Water Park
Just outside of Nerja, you’ll find a fun, slippery world called Aquavelis. This water park has seven different slides, numerous pools, refreshment areas, and loads of fun for all ages.
The toboggan mats are great for older children—the highest starts at 80 meters off the ground. You can slide with friends in double rubber rings and race in the four-lane racers.
The wave machine is great for smaller children. Prices range from €17 to €25 for entry, depending on children’s height, as some of the rides are only suitable for taller visitors.
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